Our house sat at the bottom of a hill,
where it all started, where we began,
the ground fertile, but the structure rotten.
It rocked and eventually fell,
the walls crashing outwards towards the neighbours
who luckily had kept their distance.
The hill turned golden in the August sun,
the grass burned dry in the south-facing heat.
Paths crossed its surface like landscape art
created by dogs and wild hares going about their business,
children running between school and home,
and us, as we made our climb.
Fall turned into winter and the snow glare grew blinding,
then the spring came.
We planted seedlings by a basement window.
They grew up giant and heavy with green tomatoes,
protected by a forest of marigolds.
After the first frost, we tucked them in mudroom drawers.
The tomatoes slowly turned red and edible.
There never seemed like enough.
We wished to be up there, on top of the hill,
to look down, as it were,
to own a hallway, an entryway,
not just a mudroom to a vegetable patch.
But wood and nails only last for so long.
We were never happier than there
where hollyhocks grew over our heads
and concealed the falling-down fence along the alleyway.
The ground fertile, just too close to the river,
everything swept away in the flood.